JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the clock strikes midnight New Year's Eve, we will be ringing in a new year and a new financial increase for some of Florida's lowest paid workers.
Coming January 1st, Florida's minimum wage will rise to $7.93 an hour, a 14-cent increase over the current rate of $7.79 per hour.
The increase is expected to affect an estimated 416,000 low-wage workers in the Sunshine State.
The minimum wage increase was the result of a ballot initiative approved by voters in 2004 and it was approved to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
However, University of Florida Economics Professor Paul Mason said the increase could push employers into a corner when it comes to their finances.
"Of course, it puts [employers] in a position when their expenses go up and they need to make a decision as to whether or not they can keep the number of employees given the higher expense," he said.
On the flip side, hundreds of thousands of workers in the Sunshine State say they need the extra money to support their families.
One of those people is Jeff, better known as 'the sign guy,' who said he could barely afford milk when he earned minimum wage.
"It's both embarrassing and depressing," said Jeff. "[That's] because you go through the register and all of the sudden you ring things up and then you tell the cashier, 'can you take that away? Can you take that away? Can you take that away?'"
The minimum wage increase takes effect on January 1 in Florida. Federally, The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, supported by President Obama would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
First Coast News